Letters: The real value of people’s earnings

I am a lone parent who has worked as a freelance filmmaker/animator, mainly with schools and community groups, alongside some teaching. After a sudden slashing of government funding to such projects, and the economic downturn, my income took a nosedive and I was unable to pay some outstanding tax on a previous year when I had done better than I had estimated before doing my accounts – I earn a small income which doesn’t allow for accountant fees. I have now been threatened with “enforcement by distraint” as I am currently unable to pay the outstanding bill, which means they will take my car and computers. I live in a rural area so cannot continue my work without a car, or take my daughter to school or hospital (she has a chronic illness). On hearing tonight’s news that Mr Diamond and his colleagues have waived their bonuses as repentance for major fraud, would I please be able to waive my child benefit and have my relatively minute debt to HMRC written off?
Iona Fabian
Aston, Oxfordshire

• On your front page (Barclays fined £290m … , 28 June) we have, yet again, the misuse of the word “earned”. We are told that “… [Bob] Diamond – who has earned almost £100m from Barclays since 2006 …”. He may have been paid that remarkable sum, but “earned” it? The average salary in the UK is around £25k pa (£150k over six years). I do not think it is physically possible for an individual to work 666 times as hard as the average person (though the number may be significant). I doubt Diamond thinks the words “earned” and “paid” are synonymous, but I think most of us would disagree. It would be nice if the Guardian could also discriminate between them.
John Hall
Telford, Shropshire

• Thank heavens for the bonus culture that enables UK banks to recruit top talent. Imagine what a shambles they would be if they were run and staffed by greedy, unprincipled muppets.
David Guest
Tring, Hertfordshire

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